jamie goode's wine blog: Two impressive English fizzes

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Two impressive English fizzes

English fizz is hot at the moment. Well, not literally, of course - it's just another way of saying that there's currently a lot of interest in English sparkling wines. The English wine industry as a whole is turning rapidly from being a curiosity/novelty industry ('I didn't know they made wine in England') to being taken more seriously, and the increasingly convincing sparkling wines made here are one of the reasons for this. Here are two impressive fizzes from Chapel Down, which is the main brand of The English Wines group, a thoroughly professional outfit with a broad portfolio of wines.

The question many people will be asking is, 'Are they as good as Champagne?' It's a complex question to answer (what does 'as good as' mean? Which Champagne?), but I'll try. The Vintage Reserve Brut has real finesse and purity, but also a little more fruity character than most Champagnes, perhaps reflecting the contribution of the non-Champagne grape varieties. The Pinot Reserve is much more Champagne like and is one of the best English fizzes I've yet tasted. It's sharper and fresher than many Champagnes. This will be even more interesting in a year or two.

Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut NV English Sparkling Wine
A blend of Rivaner, Reichensteiner and Pinot Noir. Very fresh, bright nose is citrussy and pure with subtle herbiness. The palate is bright, lemony and quite fruity with lovely focus and purity. Tight with high acidity. A serious effort. 88/100 (16.99)
Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2002 English Sparkling Wine
A blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Aromatic nose is full with notes of ripe apples, toast and subtle nutty and herby notes. This is pure and quite sophisticated. The palate is citrussy and intense with good acidity and lots of flavour. There's some Pinot richness here, but overall the impression is one of focus and brightness. A serious effort with lovely purity, and justifying the price-tag. 91/100 (24.99)

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4 Comments:

At 8:15 PM, Blogger Douglas Blyde said...

...seriously smart bottles...

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Agree Douglas - as well as getting the wine right, they've nailed the packaging. [Unless of course, I've read you wrong, and you are describing the contents as 'smart'.]

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger Douglas Blyde said...

The labels are notably smart.

 
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